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Paper planes and trebuchets

Impression 5 exhibit explores kinetic energy


MONDAY, August 8 — Children usually get yelled at for throwing things indoors. But Impression 5 Science Center’s latest exhibit, Throwing Things, invites kids to do just that.

“This [exhibit] is all about potential and kinetic energy,” said Laura Zeller, Impression 5 director of communications. “We’ve got a trebuchet that allows kids to manipulate weight. We’ve got a ping pong blaster, bottle rockets, airplane launchers and a really cool pitching cage.”

The new exhibit allows kids of all ages to interact with science.

“Most of our exhibits, we try to have a young child area that really allows kids to roll around, play, throw — do what little kids do, but in a safe space,” Zeller said. “Paper airplanes is my favorite. This station allows you to see some pretty standard paper airplane directions and models, build your own and launch it to see how far it can go. And you can measure your progress. You can keep testing to see which ones work and which ones don’t.”

Since the 1970s, Impression 5 has tried to take the intimidation factor out of science by creating fun, interactive exhibits for kids.

“The science center is all about hands on. We want people and families to feel encouraged to touch everything and play with everything,” Zeller said. “Our exhibits are built for engagement and interaction at any age.”

In addition to Throwing Things, Impression 5 has a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits, including a nature center and a light room. All of the exhibits are designed and built by the Impression 5 staff. In June, the science center plans to open its new, $450,000, two-story water room that will allow kids to manipulate and control water.

“We’ve got, an amazing team with very eclectic backgrounds,” Zeller said. “We have physicists, master fabricators —we even have a position called Exhibit Futurist. He finds out the newest in hands-on, interactive education that engages the whole family. We have people from informal and formal education backgrounds, so all of those things kind of come together and help us create really unique, awesome, memorable experiences.”


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